A brief foray into Mexico
Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
117Trip End Ongoing
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Chicken bus no.1 in Guatemala - usual stuff, people, modestly-dressed Guatemalan ladies, knee-punishing leg room, ´interesting´ people smells in the air. The usual polite jockeying for position on the seats designed for two but holding three, as the bus swings around hairpin bends. After a bit of practice it isn´t that difficult to strive for and achieve that extra centimetre or two of seat under your bum. The tricky bit is gently jostling your seat companion to maintain those hard-won centimetres on the next bend.
Transfer - this is the bit where you turn up to a junction at an unremarkable town - bus guys leap up to the top of the bus and throw down your backpacks which you catch and run off to a bus they point at
Chicken bus no. 2 near Mexico - usual stuff, but Guatemala ladies showing some flesh in western clothing (shock, horror!), guys who look like they have stepped straight out of an American classic Western movie. Cowboy hats, beautiful hand-made leather belts, Wrangler jeans, neat shirt, but with a variety of baseball caps all sporting designer names such as Ralph Loren etc.
Arrive at the border - the blokes LOOK Mexican somehow. The handlebar moustaches and the cowboy outfits. Maybe they´ve watched too many movies with the Mexicans cast as the baddies because these guys look mean. They scowl and stalk around in a manner which would make Dirty Harry proud.
Border Crossing - no worries, the Mexican immigration officials didn´t exactly welcome us as long-lost amigos, but at the same time they didn´t charge us extra money to get into the country which can happen (for their drinking and/or retirement fund).
We´re struck by:
* the number of tourists
* the amount of expensive shops
* the heat
* the multi-coloured colonial style buildings mostly restored to a beautiful state
* the markets with some of the most incredible and intricate needlework we have ever seen
This is Mexico-lite, a place for people who want to feel that they have experienced Mexico/Central America, but without encountering the usual pollution, water shortages and Volkswagon-sized holes in the pavement. We might have even seen a Starbucks here...
All in all, a beautiful place but so expensive and touristy that we end up checking into a hippie-style hostel owned by a cheerfully stoned little Italian man. At least we can afford our own room!